Thirty-six police officers on bargaining unit

Cops and Courts

Thirty-six Clovis police officers on Friday voted to form the Clovis Police Officers Association, a bargaining unit of sergeants, patrolmen, detectives and the evidence technician, said group president Kirk Roberts, a detective.

“It provides clear lines of communication between line-level employees and administration and provides a format for addressing issues,” Roberts said.

Roberts said there were 38 officers eligible to be in the Officers Association, and two voted against joining. He said the Officers Association is not a union, but an official bargaining unit and a social and fraternal organization.

The Clovis Labor Relations Board plans to certify the Officers Association election today at its board meeting, City Manager Ray Mondragon said. He said he would not comment on the group’s formation until after the election has been approved.

“Mostly our focus is to develop a more positive culture through those different areas we can bargain in,” Roberts said. “Along with city administration and specifically with police administration, we want to look at getting back into line with being one of the top, if not the top, law enforcement administrations in the state.”

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Clovis police filed an affidavit for arrest warrant against a city employee they believe committed a simple assault and battery against Sgt. Dan Aguilar after a Nov. 4 City Commission meeting.

Sgt. John Corley filed the affidavit in Magistrate Court on Friday alleging Craig Johnson, a traffic employee with the city’s public works department, poked Aguilar’s chest several times following a statement Aguilar made at the City Commission meeting, court records show. According to the affidavit, there were witnesses to the alleged assault.

But Johnson’s attorney and a coworker who witnessed the confrontation said it was Aguilar who committed the assault.

Clovis Attorney Dan Lindsey and city parts technician Chris Milner, who said he witnessed the incident, said Johnson never touched Aguilar, but rather pointed at him from a distance. Aguilar then grabbed Johnson’s finger, Milner said.

Lindsey said Clovis police didn’t interview many of the witnesses, including Milner and another witness who was at the scene.

Lindsey said Magistrate Judge Richard Hollis on Tuesday denied a request to issue a summons rather than the arrest warrant. He said Johnson plans on reporting in the near future to the jail, where he would face a $1,000 bond.

Lindsey said there are various options for Johnson, including a federal lawsuit against Clovis police for malicious prosecution.

“We will fight this vigorously,” he said. “Some of the Clovis police officers have made misstatements and outright fabrications …”

Corley and Aguilar did not immediately return phone calls Tuesday afternoon.

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A complaint was dropped against the city of Clovis for excluding potential members of an officers association from pay raises in June granted to all other city employees.

The members of the group wanting to form the Clovis Police Officers Association were later granted the pay increase in August.

“Because of the citizens’ support, the city commissioners decision to ‘do the right thing’ in the face of adversity and the need of the community to move forward, the men and women of the Clovis Police Officers Association believe it is in the best interest of the community to dismiss the complaint,” the association’s president, Detective Roberts, said in a press release.

In the release, Roberts said members of the Officers Association believed the complaint was valid; he also said the group recognized the effort put forth by citizens in support of the police department.

City Manager Mondragon declined comment on the case.

Cops and Courts is compiled by CNJ news editor Mike Linn. He can be contacted at 763-6991 or: mike_linn@link.freedom.com